As we near the one-year mark of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, adults throughout the nation are reporting their highest stress levels since the health crisis began.
According to “Stress in America: January 2021 Stress Snapshot” from the American Psychological Association (APA), 84% of adults said they experienced at least one emotion tied to prolonged stress in the prior 2 weeks, the most common being anxiety at 47%, sadness at 44%, and anger at 39%.
Significant sources of reported stress included the future of the United States (81%), the coronavirus pandemic (80%), and political unrest (74%).
Now more than ever, it is important to remember the basics of self-care. Prioritize the habits and behaviors that influence overall health: balanced eating, regular exercise, and restorative sleep.
The APA also suggests:
· Practice the rule of “three good things” and ask friends and family to do the same. At the end of each day, reflect on three good things — large or small — that happened. This helps decrease anxiety, counter depression and build emotional resiliency.
· Practice self-care in 15- or 30-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, take a short walk, call a friend or watch a funny TV show. Parents should encourage or help their kids to do the same.
· Keep in touch with friends and family. This helps build emotional resiliency so you can support one another.
· Keep things in perspective. Try to reframe your thinking to reduce negative interpretations of day-to-day experiences and events.
Another thing to keep in mind, you are not alone in feeling high levels of stress. A lot of people were really hoping 2021 would bring a sense of relief, but that hasn’t happened yet. Don’t judge yourself too harshly for the way you are feeling.
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